Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The 18 languages of IOL 2016 and the amazing multilingual jury!

The International Linguistics Olympiad 2016 took place in Mysore, India. 31 countries were present, with 44 teams and 170 participants!
Big group photo from IOL 2016 in Mysore
Different angle, same crowd :)
Every year, the participants compete in their skills at solving problems based on linguistics - individually and in teams. To find out more about the contest, and how to get involved - go here.

The problem set is created by the International Problem Committee, and is available in multiple languages.  Prior to the international contest, each country will report in what language they prefer the problem set to be in and the Problem Committee will ensure that it is provided for them. (There are some restrictions, the language has to be available to the contestants at the national level as well.) The problems are not written wholly in one language at the start, but in a kind of “solverese”. If you want to read more about how that works, go hereAll in all, this years contest featured 18 different languages.
Individual contest at IOL 2016
(To be clear, the problem set was provided in 18 different languages, but the actual problems themselves featured material from yet more languages.  For example, the team contest featured the same audio clips in !Xóõ, while the surrounding text for this problem was provided in 18 languages.)

In the individual contest, it is possible for each contestant to receive the problem set in any of the languages available. They are only allowed one problem set though, so they can only pick one language. One year, a member of the Estonian delegation chose to have the problem set for the individual competition in Russian while the rest of the team had it in Estonian. For the team contest, the team needs to choose one language only though.
Team China during the team contest 2016, having a breakthrough and shuffling papers 
This year, there were 18 languages in the IOL. They were:

1.            Bangla
2.            Bulgarian
3.            Chinese
4.            Czech
5.            Dutch
6.            English
7.            Estonian
8.            Hungarian
9.            Japanese
10.         Polish
11.         Brazilian Portuguese
12.         Romanian
13.         Russian
14.         Slovene
15.         Spanish
16.         Swedish
17.         Turkish
18.         Ukrainian

To see the problem sets for yourself, and test how you fare against the contestants of IOL 2016 - go here!

The Jury of the IOL is divided by which problem they're grading, not by language. This means that the same juryer will be grading the same problem, but in 18 languages.
Juryer Bruno L'Astoria dealing with piles of paper during the grading.
Every year, we express our admiration and thanks to the Problem Committee, the Jury and their team of translators for pulling off this massive task. This year is no different, thank you for your hard work! We wish you all the best for next year!

To see a full list of the members of the Jury and the Problem Committee for 2016, go here.
Some of the Jury members being thanked on stage.